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A Short History of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen - 1889


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"A Short History of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen."
by F.P. Sargent [1889]
First published in Carroll D. Wright (ed.), Fifth Annual Report of the Commisioner of Labor, 1889:
Railroad Labor. (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1890), pp. 40-41.

Brief history of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen by the head of the organization, F.P. Sargent. The BLF is best remembered as the organization for which Eugene V. Debs edited the monthly journal, the Locomotive Firemen's Magazine, from 1878 to 1894, when he left to form an industrial union, the American Railway Union. Sargent notes that the BLF was established in 1873 as a fraternal benevolent association, supplying low-cost life insurance to its members. Over time, benefits increased and coverage for occupational disabilities was added, as the size of the organization and its available funds grew. Historians should note that the BLF was a fraternal benefit society, not a labor union. "The relationship existing between the companies and members of our order is wholly harmonious," Sargent notes.


Language English
Collection opensource


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